According to this article on an Australian news site, many British companies are starting to develop progressive compassionate leave policies for people with pets. Essentially, pet owners are granted time off to care for sick pets, and in some cases are even being permitted bereavement leave. The article did not specify whether the leave could be considered part of an employee’s paid sick days or not, but I imagine in some cases it might be. While the idea of “peternity leave” sounds cutesy, there are some sound reasons to support it and consider it for a business.
I think that this is an excellent position to take as a business. Compassionate leave policies which include pets mark you as a progressive, caring company, and also encourage people to take care of their animals. If you allow a certain number of paid sick days, why not include pet care days in this allotment: it will make your employees happier, and lead to more company loyalty.
Company loyalty has a number of bonuses. Employees who love their jobs are, of course, going to work harder, be more committed to the company, and stay longer. In addition, they will be more likely to encourage friends outside of work to buy the company’s products or take advantage of the company’s services. Having pet friendly employee policies such as compassionate leave or allowing your employees to bring pets to work will build brand loyalty.
Many consumers who try to be conscious about animal friendly causes seek out animal friendly businesses, as well. In addition to trying to obtain cruelty free body care, for example, I try to purchase products from companies that have progressive pet policies. I might even pay more, especially if it’s the choice between two identical products. Advertising your pet friendly policy will probably win you more loyal employees and customers.
Compassionate leave which includes pets also encourages people to care for their pets as they would care for themselves, and changes the way people think about animals. People would not hesitate to take time off to care for a sick child: why not take time off to care for a sick pet, as well? Being encouraged to take personal days when you need them is healthy, and builds a healthier employee base, not least because animals have been shown to have positive health benefits for their guardians!
Adding a balanced pet leave policy to other employee policies about time off is a great step for animal rights. Hooray for Britain.